Pictures from England, Wales, and Ireland

Exploring our Celtic Spirituality

A Pilgrimage to Wales and Ireland

Led by:

The Rev. Edgar Wallace
St. Mathias Episcopal Church
Minocqua, WI

September 30 – October 13, 2009

Trip map

DAY 1, Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - Depart Chicago for the transatlantic flight to Manchester, England.  Dinner on board the aircraft. D

DAY 2: Thursday, October 1, 2009 - We will arrive in Manchester where we will meet our guide and driver and depart from Manchester Airport to Liverpool where we will visit Liverpool Cathedral.  The Cathedral’s awesome scale and beauty never fails to make a lasting impression – together with, of course, the panoramic view of the city and beyond from the tower.  It lays claim to many records – the UK’s largest Cathedral, the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells and the world’s highest and widest Gothic arches.  We will continue to St. Deiniols’s Library Hawarden.  Meal on board the airplane and dinner. BD

DAY 3: Friday, October 2, 2009 - Today we will visit Caernaforn where we will tour the majestic castle, the most beautiful in all of Wales.  It is here that the Prince of Wales is invested although Wales’ nationalists adamantly oppose it and actually tried to blow up Prince Charles’ train before his investiture in 1969.  We will continue to Bodnant Garden, a 32 hectare terraced beauty that boasts rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.  We continue toward Chester, England stopping at St. Asaph where we will see the small cathedral.  We will also visit Holywell to see St. Winifred’s Well.  The shrine here has survived since the Middle Ages and the waters are still believed to have healing powers.  We will return to St. Deiniol’s Library Hawarden for overnight. BD

DAY 4: Saturday, October 3, 2009 - We will visit the Bishop’s Palace and St. Non’s Bay where St. David was born.  The Bishop’s Palace is a testament to the wealth of the medieval church in Wales and served as the bishop’s residence until the 16th century.  We will head north through Wales staying to the west traveling through Newport and stopping at Nevern to see one of the finest Celtic crosses in all of Wales.  We will continue to Cardigan where we see the Church of the Holy Cross, an example of the Spartan Christianity found in Wales in the past.  We will visit St. Dyfnog in Llarnheader before continuing to St. Deiniol’s Library Hawarden for overnight. BD

DAY 5: Sunday, October 4, 2009 - Today we will travel to Chester and visit Chester Cathedral, a remarkable building, both historically and architecturally.  It is much more than just a repository of the past.  It is a living church, encompassing many activities within its active and diverse ministry.  Chester has been a town since Roman times and we will take a walking tour seeing the Rows, the shops which have one store on street level and the other on the second floor with galleries looking over the streets.  We will see the Bridge of Sighs and the cathedral which was extensively restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in the 19th century.  We will travel just outside of Chester to Tatton Park to visit the fine stately residence that was home to the Egerton family.  We will have time to see the gardens before returning to St Deiniol’s for our “farewell to Wales” dinner. BD

DAY 6: Monday, October 5, 2009 - We will travel from Holyhead to Dublin by ferry.  On arrival in Dublin we will continue to Galway and take a ferry to the Aran Islands for our overnight stay. BD

DAY 7: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - ’’No angel who ever came to Ireland to help Gael or Gall returned to Heaven without first visiting Aran, and if people understood how greatly the Lord loves Aran they would all come there to partake of its blessings.”  Cormac mac Cuilennáin, King-Bishop of Cashel, died 908 AD.

This morning our guide and lecturer on the Island will be Padraigín Clancy who lives on the island.  St. Enda founded a monastery here in 485 AD which drew many men and women of faith to the island and resulted in the 10 monasteries that were eventually built here.  We will travel by minicoach on arrival.  Our introduction to the island will begin with a visit to what remains of his monastic site — the stump of a round tower, the fragments of a High Cross, and two smaller churches.  Padraigín, a scholarly expert on St. Brigid, will introduce us to this remarkable 6th century Irish saint and abbess.  We continue our exploration of Inis Mór, with the exceptionally impressive Bronze Age fortress of Dún Aengus overlooking a sheer 300-foot drop to the Atlantic.  We may also visit the monastery of St. Brecan at the “Seven Churches.”  It was a contemporary of and maybe even competitive with the monastery of St. Enda.  We will also see the only clochán or beehive-cell—built with dry-wall corbelling.  Ovenight the Aran Islands. BD

DAY 8: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - We will depart The Aran Islands on the morning ferry and travel to Dublin.  We will visit Clonmacnoise, the monastic community founded by St. Kieran in the 6th century.  At Clonmacnoise we will see more High Crosses.  The site also includes the ruins of a Cathedral, Eight Churches, Two Round Towers, and a large collection of early Christian Grave Slabs.  Overnight Dublin. BD

DAY 9: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - We will take a panoramic tour of Dublin and see the statue lined O’Connell St., Georgian Squares, and Phoenix Park.  Our exploration will take us to the National Museum where we will see the many Celtic artifacts on display, the Four Courts, the seat of the Irish Law Courts, Kilmainham Gaol, and more.  We will see St. Patrick’s Cathedral which contains the largest and most interesting collection of church monuments in Ireland.  We will have some time to rest and then go to the 5:00 PM Evensong Service at Christ Church Cathedral which is built on the site of a wooden Viking church built in 1038.  You will be free this evening to enjoy dinner on your own. B

DAY 10: Friday, October 9, 2009 - Today we will travel from Dublin to County Down, Northern Ireland via the legendary Mountains of Mourne.  A highlight will be a visit to one of Northern Ireland’s major Millennium projects, The St. Patrick Centre at Downpatrick which presents the story of Ireland’s Patron Saint through state of the art interpretation of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  The exhibition entitled, ‘Ego Patricius’, presents Patrick’s story in his own words.  We will see Down Cathedral, a fine 19th Century Gothic Cathedral built on the Hill of Down, one of the holiest sites in Ireland.  We will continue to the Cathedral City of Armagh for a visit before returning to Dublin for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 11: Saturday, October 10, 2009 - Today we travel to Newgrange for a visit to the Stone Age passage graves and the Hill of Tara where disputes between clans were settled and new laws were passed.  We will see the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick lit a Paschal fire as a challenge to the pagan High King of Tara.  Later we will visit Mellifont Abbey, founded in 1142 and the first Cistercian Abbey in Ireland. We will visit Monasterboice, one of the most famous religious sites in Ireland.  Here we will see the famous 10th century High CrossesMuiredach’s High Cross is the finest in all of Ireland.  We will also see the West Cross, known as the Tall Cross which is one of the largest in Ireland.  We will stop at Kells to see the monastery set up by St. Columba in the 6th century.  Monks who fled Iona after 806 for Kells may have been the scribes who illuminated the famous Book of Kells now resting in Trinity College in Dublin. On our return to Dublin, we will then visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells, the most richly illuminated of Ireland’s medieval manuscripts.  You will be free to have dinner on your own this evening. B

Day 12: Sunday, October 11, 2009 - We travel to Kildare to visit St. Brigid’s Cathedral which commemorates the saint who founded a religious community here in 490.  Here, monks and nuns lived under the same roof and a perpetual fire, a pagan ritual, was kept burning until the 16th century.  We will offer prayers at St. Brigid’s Well before.  We will visit Castledermot and the Moone High Crosses this afternoon before returning to Dublin for our overnight. BD

DAY 13: Monday, October 12, 2009 - We travel to Glendalough, the setting of some of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements. We will go to the visitor’s center and see a film, “Ireland of the Monasteries” which will give us a brief history of the monastery.  We will then take a pilgrimage walk through St. Kevin’s Monastic City and visit the remains of St. Kevin’s Cell, the Reefert Church and Tempall na Skellig.  We will go back to Dublin for our overnight stay. BD

DAY 14: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - We will depart to Dublin Airport for our return flight to the United States. Breakfast and meals on the aircraft. B

Price: $4,199.00 Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from Chicago, IL.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement $799.00.

Final Payment due July 1, 2009

Deposit of $300.00 per person due with reservation form.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until July 1, 2009- $200.00 per person.
◊ July 2 – August 14 - $300.00 per person plus an unrecoverable charges.
◊ After August 15, 2009: NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, S Snack

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.